Sunday, May 6, 2012

Inspirational Moment...

This video appears to be a promotional for an outfit called DDP Yoga, and that outfit is the subject of some criticism on the intertubes.  Whether this man's results were due to DDP Yoga, however, is irrelevant to the inspiring story:

McIntyre Got Some of His FOI Information...

...and it's obvious that East Anglia and its cabal of warmists were diddling the data to get the notorious “hockey stick”.  Mr. McIntyre was right all along.  When the rest of his FOI data is forthcoming, I suspect we'll see this in even more detail.  Steve McIntyre's detailed analysis is online, of course, 'cause that's how the dude rolls.  Unlike the “professional scientists” who treat him with such contempt...

Bertrand Russell's Ten Commandments...

Bertrand Russell is probably best known as a philospher and mathematician, but he was many other things as well.  In his autobiography, he has a section he calls A Liberal Decalogue – essentially, a set of ten commandments for teachers.  As I read them, it occurred to me that they were an equally valuable guide for scientists (who are, after all, teachers of a rather special kind).  Then it further occurred to me that they were a concise illustration of what's wrong with climate science today.  Cherish them:
  1. Do not feel absolutely certain of anything.
  2. Do not think it worth while to proceed by concealing evidence, for the evidence is sure to come to light.
  3. Never try to discourage thinking for you are sure to succeed.
  4. When you meet with opposition, even if it should be from your husband or your children, endeavor to overcome it by argument and not by authority, for a victory dependent upon authority is unreal and illusory.
  5. Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are always contrary authorities to be found.
  6. Do not use power to suppress opinions you think pernicious, for if you do the opinions will suppress you.
  7. Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.
  8. Find more pleasure in intelligent dissent than in passive agreement, for, if you value intelligence as you should, the former implies a deeper agreement than the latter.
  9. Be scrupulously truthful, even if the truth is inconvenient, for it is more inconvenient when you try to conceal it.
  10. Do not feel envious of the happiness of those who live in a fool’s paradise, for only a fool will think that it is happiness.
A little googling around the intertubes shows that I am far from the first person to make this connection. Late to the party, as usual!

Excellent XML and PERL Rants...

I've not run across Erik Naggum's web site before, but in searching for a coherent argument about the evils of XML I ran across his excellent rant on the topic (political components aside).  Then poking around, I found another excellent rant about the execrable programming language PERL.  A most satisfying find, I must say...

On C++

I try very hard to never be in a position that requires me to program in the C++ language again – I've had far more than my share of struggles with that blight upon the programming world.  So you can imagine my amusement in running across these quotes:
When your hammer is C++, everything begins to look like a thumb.

Steve Haflich in, December 1994

Being really good at C++ is like being really good at using rocks to sharpen sticks.

Thant Tessman in comp.lang.scheme, December 1996

Of course SML does have its weaknesses, but by comparison, a discussion of C++'s strengths and flaws always sounds like an argument about whether one should face north or east when one is sacrificing one's goat to the rain god.

Thant Tessman in comp.lang.scheme, April 1997

As for C++ – well, it reminds me of the Soviet-era labor joke: “They pretend to pay us, and we pretend to work.” C++ pretends to provide an object-oriented data model, C++ programmers pretend to respect it, and everyone pretends that the code will work. The actual data model of C++ is exactly that of C, a single two-dimensional array of bits, eight by four billion, and all the syntactic sugar of C++ fundamentally cannot mask the gaping holes in its object model left by the cast operator and unconstrained address arithmetic.

Guy L. Steele: Objects have not failed. OOPSLA 2002

Water Wings Won the Cold War...

Well, not directly.  But apparently the wily Mao used water wings (amongst other things) to humiliate Khrushchev during his state visit to China in 1958.  The fallout from this meeting changed the course of the Cold War by making the Sino-Soviet split permanent:
The results of the talks were felt almost immediately. Khrushchev ordered the removal of the USSR’s advisers, overruling aghast colleagues who suggested that they at least be allowed to see out their contracts. In retaliation, on Khrushchev’s next visit to Beijing, in 1959, Taubman relates, there was “no honor guard, no Chinese speeches, not even a microphone for the speech that Khrushchev insisted on giving, complete with accolades for Eisenhower that were sure to rile Mao.”
Suppose, just suppose, Mao had been welcoming to Khushchev in 1958.  How would our world be different today?